Committing to lengthy and involved fitness challenges can be a chore and might not set you up for success. Try this simple 15-Day Healthy Lifestyle Challenge that’s customizable to fit your goals and schedule. Recruit a workout buddy to provide accountability and a bit more of a challenge, and remember: two weeks from now, you’ll be glad you started today.
How it works
Each day you’ll focus on one of the following themes: mindset, nutrition, movement, and recovery. Choose from the list of options for each day’s theme, and complete that activity. Try to choose a different activity every day to keep things interesting. Here’s a sample schedule that might work for you, but feel free to create your own.
Day 1: Mindset
Incorporate visualization and imagine yourself living your perfect day. What does that look like? It might begin early with a workout and healthy fuel for breakfast, or maybe you prefer working out in the evening to wrap up your day. Your ideal day should incorporate all four themes at some point to provide balance and energy. Get creative!
Day 2: Nutrition
Set a goal to drink .5-1 ounce of water per pound of body weight today. Hydration plays a major role in supporting your body and brain, and it’s the foundation of healthy nutrition. Drink up!
Day 3: Movement
First thing in the morning, take two minutes to add some stretching. It’s amazing how adding just a little bit of movement early in the day can provide energy and improve your mood. Check out a few moves you can try at home or at the office with these Workday Stretches.
Day 4: Recovery
Lower your bedroom temperature to 65-70 degrees before bedtime. Studies show that we get more rest and sleep more deeply in that temperature range.
Day 5: Mindset
Make eye contact and smile at three people today. Smiling releases endorphins and boosts mood, and we all know that a great smile is contagious. Brighten someone else’s day as you brighten your own!
Day 6: Nutrition
Have a protein source with each meal today. Protein helps satisfy hunger and fuel muscle building and recovery.
Day 7: Recovery
Take a break outside today with a walk in the sun. Clear your mind, sharpen your focus, give your eyes a break from artificial light, and boost your mood in just 15 minutes of moderately-paced walking.
Day 8: Mindset
Set a goal for the remainder of your 15-day challenge. Write it down. It could be as simple as adding an activity that you’ll complete daily, or more ambitious if you’re up to the challenge. Crush it!
Day 9: Movement
Grab some friends or family and go on a hike, walk or run (or maybe a bike ride!). The point is to get outside for purposeful, planned movement and enjoy the benefits of physical activity while spending time with people you enjoy.
Day 10: Nutrition
Make dinner at home instead of fast food or eating out. Use fresh ingredients and turn on some tunes to make it an event.
Day 11: Movement
Attend a personal training session. Schedule your session in advance, then commit. Take a list of questions about how to get started and talk with the trainer about your personal goals to customize your training session.
Day 12: Mindset
Use five minutes of your day to reflect on what you’ve accomplished so far and what you’d like to accomplish for the rest of the challenge. How are you feeling? What has changed in your approach to health and fitness? Write it down so you can read it later.
Day 13: Nutrition
Start a three-day food journal to track what you’re eating. It can be eye-opening to see how we’re fueling our bodies. Just remember: if you bite it, you write it!
Day 14: Recovery
Create a plan of action for improving your sleep, both quantity, and quality. Your plan could include starting a bedtime routine that includes drinking a glass of water and avoiding screen time before bed, two proven methods for improving sleep quality. Implement your new routine tonight for a better tomorrow.
Day 15: Movement
If you wear a fitness tracker, crush that 10,000-step goal today. Challenge yourself to see just how many steps you can track. Recruit a friend for a friendly competition. You’ve got this.
At the end of your 15-day challenge, take a few minutes to evaluate what you tried, what worked and what didn’t. Are there a few things you didn’t try but would like to? There’s no rule that says you have to stop at 15 days, and now you have the tools and resources to create your own challenge. Do a little more each day, and soon you’ll find that it’s easier to add more healthy habits and change your lifestyle for the better. Take it one day at a time!
In partnership with EXOS, a world leader in human performance and the management company for CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.